As the brilliant “Century of the Self” video claims, government and business invested considerable efforts in the 20th century (thanks to the likes of self-appointed “father of public relations”, Edward Bernays) turning the public into consumers – or self-perpetual happiness machines.
It is not surprising that we are programmed to be consumers (rather than citizens) as part of our way of life. The Energy Saving Trust predicts British consumers will require double the current electricity levels to power their increasing number of electric and electronic products clearly we’ve been conditioned to believe gadgets are essential to our well-being, especially a new “must have” boys’ (or girls’) toy at Christmas.
What I find most surprising is that despite having kitchen cupboards stuffed with pointless gadgets, we are still buying such items. Those of us with childhood memories of sandwich toasters, hostess trolleys, soda streams and fondue sets (the last two admittedly not electric gadgets) – should know better.
This Christmas – let’s think of the planet and “step away from the juicer or breadmaker now…”